by Bridget Johnson · March 13, 2017
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the formation of a state task force Sunday to come up with ways to deal with pesky plastic bags from the supermarket.
In 2016, New York City passed a law mandating at least a 5-cent charge for people opting to receive carryout goods in a plastic bag “to reduce the amount of waste we send to landfills and keep bags out of our trees, streets, and oceans.” That was supposed to take effect on Feb. 15, with the fees to have been kept by retailers and not applying to consumers receiving food assistance.
New York State suspended the city’s bag fee for a year, though.
Cuomo said the new New York State Plastic Bag Task Force, led by state Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos along with co-chairs Senator Thomas O’Mara (R) and Assemblyman Steve Englebright (D), would study the issue and ultimately recommend legislation to address the environmental impact of the 23 million plastic bags used each year in the state.
“New York has led the nation by taking bold action to protect our environment – and this task force marks another step forward in that effort,” Cuomo said. “The costly and negative impact of plastic bags on New York’s natural resources is a statewide issue that demands a statewide solution.”
“This diverse coalition of experts will bring the experience and knowledge necessary to tackle this problem and safeguard New York’s environment for future generations,” the governor added.
The task force will also include representatives from the New York League of Conservation Voters and the Food Industry Alliance.
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio signaled last month that he’s open to a full-on ban of plastic bags, acknowledging that the current city policy of encouraging reusable bags is “one way of doing it.”
“A ban is another option, which I’d be very open to,” de Blasio told NY1. “The one thing I know is the worst possible outcome is what we have right now. Vast number of plastic bags are just harming the earth. It’s not good for any of us.”
“…We have vast numbers of plastic bags ending up in the garbage, getting sent to a landfill. We’re paying as taxpayers to send it to a landfill…There’s nothing good about plastic bags.”